24 June 2020 Summer Party!

The Word of the Day sun-drenched was an apt description for the glorious evening of our Annual Summer Party. From members’ webcams we could see windows open, electric fans whirling, hand-fans in action and red faces as the wonderful summer weather drenched us in its warmth. Just as well some of us had a cooling, celebratory beverage alongside the keyboard!

What were we celebrating? This meeting marked the end of Toastmasters educational year and it was a year in which City Women Speakers had much to celebrate, awards from the old educational system, awards from the new Pathways program, Contest Winners and more. See the end of this report for a full listing.

Toastmaster for the evening was Katie, who introduced each role-holder/speaker with their answer to the theme question “What is the biggest leap (e.g. change/lesson learned/revelation) you’ve made in the last year, thanks to Toastmasters/CWS?”. We heard answers such as:

  • Having the confidence to be more vocal at work
  • The confidence to put myself forward for things that scare the bejesus out of me
  • TM gave me the confidence to apply for (& get) a job involving presenting
  • Putting together the first speech seemed a massive hurdle and internal struggle but once on the other side, it was a revelation. I am looking forward to my next speeches
  • Asking for a promotion into leadership/management roles at work – I never would have had the confidence to do this before Toastmasters
  • Accepting that the club uses WhatsApp to help plan meetings and that I needed to get comfortable using it

The question and the responses were certainly in tune with our “celebration” meeting.

Laura was our first speaker of the night, delivering How to Upcycle Furniture in which she walked us through some of the do’s and don’ts regarding stripping varnish/paint from old woodwork, turning “something neglected into something beautiful”. Next up, Sin challenged us to take the plunge and become a contestant in the forthcoming round of speech contests. She talked us through the 4 key learnings from her Division L Evaluation Contest experience with Take on the Competition.

The two speeches were evaluated by Aga and Julia before we took a short off-camera break to “shake it all about” and grab a fresh glass of iced water (or perhaps something a little stronger….)

The meeting resumed and I rattled rapidly through a PowerPoint presentation consisting of 25 awards & certificates, recognising our members’ (& therefore our club’s) successes over the past 12 months.

Table Topics Master, Kiran, set up a Home Network of Pointless Inventions for our TT speakers to sell; an umbrella made from sponge, individual grape containers, “glow in the dark” razors and washable nail polish, were touted amongst other useless items.

Partway through evaluating the Table Topics, Armelle was disconnected – one of the few pitfalls of virtual meetings so we moved onto the reports from the Timer (Kate) and the Grammarian (Rachel).

Best Table Topic: Eve

Best Evaluator: Not voted on as Armelle was cut off halfway through

With something akin to an advent calendar, with a door being opened one at time, all webcams were turned off, and one by one, the 2019-2020 committee turned their cameras on before all microphones were turned on and the whole club applauded the committee for their hard work in the last 12 months. All webcams turned off again, one by one, the new committee were announced before microphones were switched on for another round of applause. Incoming President, Eve then spoke briefly before Aga took centre stage to lead us through a fun session of “would you rather…” before bringing the Summer Party to a close.

Yes – it would have been more fun to have had this party face-to-face, in a restaurant like we usually do, sharing food, drink and laughter together but I think we put on a jolly show with our virtual celebration!

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Outgoing Committee:

Vice President Education: Aga

Vice President of Membership: Katie

Vice President of Public Relations: Veronica Treasurer: Rowena

Sergeant at Arms: Jo

Secretary: Zori (July to March) Dena (April to June) President: Carrie

Immediate Past President: Esmé

Outgoing Committee

 Incoming Committee:

Vice President Education: Aga & Katie

Vice President of Membership: Laura and Lynn

Vice President of Public Relations: Veronica

Treasurer: Rowena

Sergeant at Arms: Dena & Georgina Secretary: Jo

President: Eve

Immediate Past President: Carrie

 Incoming Committee
Traditional Programme Awards:
Rowena – Competent LeaderEsmé – Advanced Leader Bronze
JT – Advanced Communicator BronzeNadine – Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)2
Pathways Level One Awards:
AgaAnju
EsméEve
KateKiran
JoLynn
VeronicaLaura
Pathways Level Two Awards:
EmmaEve
Jo
Pathways Level Three Awards:
SinCarrie
Division L Contest Successes:
Eve – 1st place Table Topics ContestSin – 3rd place Evaluation Contest
Distinguished Club ProgramCity Women Speakers – President’s Distinguished* earning the maximum 10/10 points

1 Screenshots taken with permission from the committee

2 Nadine started her Toastmasters journey with CWS in 2013 and obtained many of the awards that contributed to her DTM whilst with our club. She moved to Munich towards the end of 2017 and joined Brainstormers Club where she completed the DTM requirements. It is cheeky to add her name to the list of our club’s accomplishments but she is a Past President of the club, a past Area Director for L56 and a past Assistant Director for Division L – so I feel we can rightly include her  

Appreciation – Certificates of “AWESOMENESS”

  • Rowena – year after year, she volunteers to be the Club Treasurer – Thank you, Ro!
  • Barbora – for more than 2 years, our main contact for room bookings – Thank you Barbora!
  • Laura – for helping with room bookings for our contests and more recently for the main meeting- room bookings (until COVID19 moved us to virtual meetings) – Thank you Laura!

Contest Support:

  • Once again, members of City Women Speakers provided tremendous support to our neighbouring clubs, Areas and Divisions for their contests, offering up: Judges, Chief Judges, Mystery Speakers, Counters, Timers and SAAs.

Ladies – you are AMAZING!!! Thank you for supporting the TM community.

New Things:

  • Big thank you to our VPPR, Veronica for the new website and new LinkedIn Page
  • Big thanks to the committee for all their hard work in transitioning our club to Virtual Meetings
  • Big thanks to all the members who showed their support for the move and their appreciation to the committee for their hard work in this move

 More New Things:

  • Anqi’s baby girl, Astrid
  • Zori’s baby boy, Sebastian
  • Nadine’s baby girl, Nicola
  • Still incubating:
    • Nayeli’s baby due mid-July
    • past member, Dani is expecting a girl in August

Congratulations, Mums!!!!

Final words from me:

I won’t lie – I did not want to be President. Nor did I want to be VPE in the 2018-2019 year but both roles have given me so much and I am incredibly grateful that these roles were effectively forced on me.

My comfort zone has been stretched and stretched and stretched some more, which tells me that I need to keep taking on unwanted & uncomfortable challenges. I have grown in confidence and now believe I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. But it is because of our wonderful club and its supportive, nurturing environment, the members, and the committee, along with the wider Toastmasters network that this has been possible.

Thank you for your support over the last 12-24 months and for the fun, friendships, and connections.